Netball: Five sent home after falling short of Silver Ferns fitness standards
Five players have already fallen victim to Dame Noeline Taurua’s strict fitness levels, as the Silver Ferns gear up to face Australia in the upcoming Constellation Cup.
Day one of the national camp saw players undergo fitness testing – a requirement for selection – and a handful of players have already been sent home.
That squad was somewhat smaller on Friday, after several members didn’t reach the coach’s exacting levels of fitness.
“There’s still room for improvement and we are really clear on what that needs to look like,” says Dame Noeline.
Those expectations are part of the Ferns’ selection criteria – pass a standard fitness test or head home.
“Five of our girls got sent home yesterday,” says midcourt Gina Crampton. “That was outlined well before camp, so everyone knew that was the case.”
But knowing the criteria doesn’t make it easier to see players sent away.
“It sucks to see your mates go home and everyone felt that a wee bit, but at the same time, everyone was very professional and got on with the job,” says Crampton.
The strict fitness measures in place have an end goal in mind – winning back the trans-Tasman trophy that hasn’t been in the Silver Ferns’ grasp since 2012.
“We need the trophy in the cabinet and that’s a game that has eluded us, especially against the Diamonds,” says Dane Noeline.
Crampton agrees: “It’s definitely far too long since we won the Constellation Cup. I think this added extra motivation for us and we are definitely going after it.”
But since winning the World Cup in 2019, the Ferns haven’t struggled for motivation and they’re ready to take it to their greatest rivals.
“Dominance has been a word for us since the end of the worlds,” says Dane Noeline. “That is a word that we want to demonstrate and what better way.”
Taurua’s team are hoping domination will lead to Constellation glory.